First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes…well, it doesn’t always work that way. According to the CDC, for every 1,000 people, 6.8 get married, and 3.6 get divorced – that’s more than 50%! If you’re headed for divorce, and don’t know what to expect (who does?), here are some tips to help you get through this difficult time. 1.) EMPLOY A GOOD LAWYER Choose a lawyer that’s a good fit for you and your current situation. Whether you prefer one who’s the same gender as you, or one who is known for being aggressive, the choice is yours and yours alone.
2.) THINK OF YOUR CHILDREN Never involve your children in any of the issues between you and your spouse, and never even think of using them to hurt or upset the other person. It’s been proven that children will not be as affected by divorce if their parents behave in a respectful manner towards one another. Case in point: don’t let your divorce create any sort of negativity in your child’s life – leave them out of it, and try to put on a positive attitude when you’re around your ex or speaking about your ex.
3.) KEEP YOUR ANGER UNDER WRAPS Although going through a divorce involves a lot of emotion, try and leave it at that. We highly recommend keeping your communications short and to the point, preventing you from getting critical towards your ex or his or her divorce lawyer. When you’re angry, take a deep breath, stay away from your email and phone, and if you’re really upset, wait a few days to speak to your ex so you have some time to think clearly.
4.) BE HONEST Truth is essential when you’re dealing with finances and other important details of your marriage. Like the old adage says, honesty is usually the best policy. If you’re hiding things from your spouse, there’s a chance they may try and prove you wrong in court, resulting in more costs for you (and them). Lying will also prolong the entire process, and when you’re going through something so hard, why would you want to do that?
5.) BE UNDERSTANDING Empathy is key when you’re dealing with divorce. One day you may feel angry, one day you may feel sad, and one day, you may be happy. Either way, it’s important to understand how your spouse is reacting to what’s going on, too, so if they’re upset, give them some time to heal and make decisions on their own. You must remember that forcing someone to deal with his or her emotions in a difficult situation is never right.
6.) COLLABORATE If you can’t settle a dispute on your own, contact a mediation or collaborative help line. These professionals are trained to help you reach a middle ground and will help expedite the decision making process in matters across the board.
7.) PICK YOUR BATTLES Don’t fight just to fight. Understand that issues will arise, and choose which issues you should actually make an issue. During a divorce, more time means more money.
8.) TAKE A STEP BACK While your spouse may say everything you want to hear when things get heated to try and get you back, it’s important to take a step back and seek advice from those with an outside point of view. Whether it’s a divorce lawyer, therapist, counselor, or mediator, it’s important to get this independent advice, even if you have to pay for it.
9.) BE THOUGHTFUL If you’ve met someone and have moved on with your life, don’t flaunt it in front of your spouse or your children. Doing so will only create more hostility and anger, and it certainly will not make your little ones jump for joy. Children should not be introduced to the new love in your life until you have spoken to your ex about it, and they are okay with it. It may be tempting to show off your new eye candy, but hold off until the divorce process is complete – it’s the best way to ensure there’s no added fuel to the fire.
10.) WAIT AWHILE Emotions often run high after a break up or separation, and when this is the case, it’s often hard to sort things out rationally. Wait awhile before you get the legal ball rolling instead of rushing to conclusions and things will work out much better in the long run.
One thing to keep in mind is that no divorce is created equal. Every person is different, and while friends may enjoy giving you their two cents, no one knows your relationship like you do, so deal with yours on your terms.
Did you now that there are public records of a divorce? Find out what kind information is available from divorce records here.